Posts tagged "meditation"
Typos

Typos

“Maybe we’ll go wind tasting” Perhaps, but only if there’s time. We’ll sample many varietals: breeze, whisper, gale. Winds assume the flavor of the land in which they originate—a terroir—and vary by how long they’ve aged. Cup them first in your palms. Take your time (though I know your time is fleeting). Smell the nuances:...
Dear Bad One

Dear Bad One

I hate anybody’s bad dream. My newest, right now, the size of a walnut, is the complex cystic structure on my left ovary, which my doctor said has grown larger since last time. It could be nothing. Could be nothing. I hate the pain everyone is in, at least sometimes, if he or she has...
Notes on Conscience

Notes on Conscience

“The Ayenbite of Inwyt,” Richard Rolle of Hampole called it. Prick of conscience. The voice of God within. Internal wisdom. Tolstoy saw most people seeking to silence it with habit, if not with tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.  See “Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves?”: “The cause of the world-wide consumption of hashish, opium, wine, and...

Mary Poppins and the Art of Sweetening with Scene

In the essay “Reflection and Retrospection: A Pedagogic Mystery Story,” Phillip Lopate tells us that he has always been attracted to the passages in memoir and personal essay “where the writing takes an analytical, interpretive turn.” He says that he considers these explicative moments to be “the dessert, the reward of prose.” Now, given Brevity’s...
A Brief Atmospheric Future

A Brief Atmospheric Future

If we’re to believe the neuroscientist Professor Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, who concluded that “Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory…phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders… [even] sensitivity to [a] cherry blossom scent…” then the pigeon knows of its ancestors’...
A Brief History of Water

A Brief History of Water

Last Sunday a displaced water snake interrupted our nightly walk. My beloved and I watched it roil under the street light, metallic in its shimmers. Overhead, a companionable moon, which can move seven-tenths of the earth’s surface without lifting a finger. Also overhead but not so far away, the firmament, which possesses a simple job...
Consider the Houses

Consider the Houses

The hall and the door and shelves full of the first names of things. Block. Card. Soft. Red. Much later on. A house in the country with a backroom full of antique shoes. Her friend collected them. Button shoes and laces and patent leather, ancient and dull-cracked. White wedding shoes with loose strings of beads,...

I Dream About the Apocalypse

My brother—a firefighter in real life—tries to organize us all, get us down into some echoing subterranean cavern that looks like the inside of a ship. Explosions rattle in my sternum, giant robots search the houses, wind flings fire this way and that. The end of everything. And I feel—relief. If I open my eyes...

The Moth

At night my father and I sit outside watching moths fly around the bare front door light. Beyond the porch is the warm summer blackness of the mountains. Lights from the infrequent cars on the highway can’t penetrate this envelope of darkness, as if the entire universe were lit by this one dangling bulb. For...

Virga

I have looked for you since 1982. It rained the day before. The curbs filled with dirty, driven-through water, and overnight the water filled up with tiny tadpoles. The next day, I made a pole from a stick and tied a bit of string to it. I knelt beside the puddle in my Gloria Vanderbilt...

White Lies

Arpi, a Lebanese girl who pronounced ask as ax no matter how many times the teacher corrected her, must have been delighted by the arrival of Connie, the new girl in our fifth grade class. Connie was albino, exceptionally white even by the ultra-Caucasian standards of our southern suburb. Only her eyelids had color: mouse-nose...

The Watch

It dangled like a bracelet from my aunt’s wrist. Shiny gold links clinked softly as she arranged her hair in the mornings, curls teased and then tamed. The watch clanked against an aerosol can of hairspray, dinged against a crystal bottle of perfume that she raised momentarily to her neck. I must have been the...

I can’t stop thinking of that New York skirt, turquoise sequins glued onto sea-colored cotton

I bought it on E. 7th St. in a shop that was only open for one day. Kerouac used to live in that building, but he was dead by then. No zippers or buttons, just strips of fabric to tie on either side of the waist. If I had been one to twirl … but...

Julio At Large

I hadn’t known the girl very well, and rarely gave her much thought before she disappeared the summer between ninth and tenth grade, when my family lived in Buckhannon, West Virginia.  We both had last names that started with the letter “B,” so we frequently had to sit next to each other in classes where...

Somebody Else’s Genocide

After my reading in Atlanta, Georgia, a blond woman asked me, in German-accented English, if my books were translated and published in Germany. “Ja,” I said. I studied German for two years in high school and one semester in college, but I remembered only a few words—abgehetzt, schoner, arschloch—and only one phrase: Ich habe sieben...

Twan’t Much

At the tire repairs factory, I knew a man named Jack who had no teeth, who brought the same thing for lunch every day, a fried egg sandwich in a wrinkled and stained paper bag. He had a family he could barely support, one that didn’t have, as my father often said, “as much as...

Death of a Citizen Abroad

When a citizen dies abroad, their body is sent home in the cargo-hold of a commercial jetliner along with suitcases stuffed with beachwear, woodcarvings from the tourist stalls, and souvenir bottle-openers shaped like elephants. A coffin is just another piece of baggage. At the airport, a Consular Affairs Officer, Mr. R—, fills out the customs...

Cathy or Katy

The rain fell through bus headlights, getting us ready for the big lie.  We spent the weekend in New York City, my heart beating up through my neck in the gold glow and enormous doors of the Mayflower Hotel.  Eric and I, when the urge to crawl out of myself toward her became no longer...